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The Greggs Marketing Challenge 2018

Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside Universities put forward teams of marketing students to compete in the Greggs Marketing Challenge 2018; and Newcastle won!!


The Greggs Marketing Challenge is an annual competition designed by the marketing department of Greggs plc. Students across the North East were briefed with the same task of designing a campaign to keep the Greggs brand contemporary and appeal to their young adult segment. Marketing students at Newcastle University Business School were set this task as an assessed piece of work. The project involved working in teams to research the current positioning of Greggs, and the lifestyles, preferences and trends of young adults, with relation to the food on the go market. One team from each university was then shortlisted by staff members to go head to head in a pitch-style presentation in front of a panel of experts.

Where and Who?

This year, Northumbria University hosted the challenge at their Newcastle Business School. University students and staff, along with Greggs staff were invited to the afternoon of presentations. Firstly, Gordon Bethell, Chairman of London and Leeds ‘CreativeRace’ delivered an insightful, thought-provoking keynote speech about the delusions in marketing, that as students we should watch out for. We then welcomed Teesside University’s team who chose an innovative method of delivery, via a pre-recorded news-anchor-like video, about their ‘Conscious Kitchen’ campaign. Next up, were our team from Newcastle; Natalia Bogiatzoglou, Qiumei Jing, Jennifer O’Neill, and Yujia Song, who spoke extremely well about their well-researched concept of ‘Abs Vs Buns’. Following that, was Sunderland University who’s team urged for Greggs vegan alternatives. Finally Northumbria University’s team announced their ‘#FuelTheNorth’ campaign.


The panel of judges was headed by Hannah Squirrell, Customer Director at Greggs, and included:

  • Graeme Nash, Head of Customer and Marketing at Greggs
  • Malcolm Copland, Commercial Director at Greggs
  • Gordon Bethell, who gave the keynote speech

The competition was tough and no one could call it. I was delighted to witness that Newcastle’s team won the challenge! All their hard work paid off and they more than deserved the award. The team would like to thank everyone who helped and encouraged them along the way, namely Dawn McCartie and Professor Matthew Gorton, lecturers in marketing at the Business School.


Newcastle’s team earned their trophy and impressed the panel. Their research determined that young adults have a preference for both health and treat food, in a ‘flexitarian’ approach of mixing and matching nutritional suggestions and personal preferences. The team saw the opportunity for Greggs to cater to this, as their menu not only offers the classic pasties, sweet treats and sausage rolls it has been so well known for, but also the Balanced Choice range, promising “all the taste, all under 400 calories”. So as their recommended solution, the team created their ‘Abs Vs Buns’ campaign. This promoted both sides of the menu and informed consumers that all their healthy and treat needs could be met in one store. They created examples of how the campaign could be implemented across social media platforms, which would engage the target audience in a fun, good-natured competition of picking a side. Or if customers don’t want to pick a side a or get involved in the conflict – they can always choose to remain “pasty-ists”.

My Experience

Personally, as a member of a team which wasn’t shortlisted, it’s still important that I reflect on how much this activity has really helped me in developing the skills acquired on my International Marketing MSc programme. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and feel so proud of the winning team.


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